The Wellcome Collection have put together a special series of events exploring the connections between food, health and life spanning across the autumn.
A variety of speakers (including Stefan Gates) will be investigating the loaded relationships between food, class and morality, and debating how to navigate a healthy course between food science, social policy and the food industry in the face of media hype and ever-changing advice.
Inspired by the intriguing collections of hand-written recipes and remedies in the Wellcome Library, they will also be looking back at 17th and 18th century recipe and remedy collections, and investigating the hidden meanings and expressions of status to be found in these handwritten notes.
The series will gravitate around an edible experiment where they will challenge a chef to cook up a cure for melancholy, following the suggestions for food, drink and lifestyle in Robert Burton’s seminal 1621 text The Anatomy of Melancholy.
There will also be plenty of opportunity to get up close to Wellcome Collection’s unique treasures in sessions exploring topics such as localism and healthy eating then and now, how food remedies have allowed women to challenge male medical orthodoxy, and whether the bloggers of today can find counterparts in the recipe swappers of 400 years ago.
Find out about tickets and times Here
Bad behaviour in the kitchen
29 September. Join our experts to challenge preconceptions about the nation’s diet and to debate how to balance food production, availability and education for all.
Packed Lunch: Breastfeeding
5 October. Is breast best? It’s an emotive issue that raises strong feelings on both sides. Join paediatrician Mary Fewtrell in conversation about this controversial issue.
Healthcare and housewifery
6 October. How did people ward off sickness in Shakespeare’s England? Although some turned to medical practitioners, many relied on homemade medicines and remedies. Explore the contents of their precious recipe collections and the role of women as physicians in early modern England.
Nourishing the nation
13 October. From the ‘Bran Gang’ and debates over the evils of highly refined foods, to the growth of the modern ‘nutrition media’ in all its complexity, trace the roots of our current anxieties over what is and isn’t good to eat.
The cook’s tour
25 October. Take a tour of unique objects, archives and illustrative materials in Wellcome Collection, and explore the role of food, remedies and global interchange in our medical and cultural lives from the 17th century onwards.
Supper salon: Future Food
26 October. What does the future of food look like – and more importantly, taste like? Join Stefan Gates over dinner and wine and discover his vision of the future of food.
The cook’s tour
3 November. Take a tour of unique objects, archives and illustrative materials in Wellcome Collection, and explore the role of food, remedies and global interchange in our medical and cultural lives from the 17th century onwards.
A feast to cure melancholy
11 and 12 November. An edible experiment. Investigate the intimate relationship between melancholy, diet and lifestyle, and explore the relevance for our 21st-century lives of Robert Burton’s 1621 work The Anatomy of Melancholy. ‘The manner of living is to more purpose, than whatsoever can be drawn out of the most precious boxes of the apothecaries’
Reading between the lines
17 November. What do 17th- and 18th-century recipe collections and contemporary food blogs have in common? Explore the hidden meanings of recipes and remedies, and find out what they reveal about their writers’ status, self-identity, and relationships with others and the world.